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Africa News of Thursday, 11 March 2021

Source: Pinto Monteiro, Contributor

Cape Verde: Alex Saab's lawyer arrested

It appears that Cape Verde authorities have no intention of discontinuing harsh treatments targeted at Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab despite growing global pressure for the release of the businessman.

Lead counsel for the diplomat in Cape Verde, Dr. Jose-Manuel Pinto Monteiro, is the latest victim of this situation.

Dr. Pinto Monteiro, a highly respected legal practitioner, was arrested after protesting a search from security officials when he was trying to visit Ambassador Alex Saab for a meeting in the house where the diplomat is being detained.

Although the lawyer has been released, according to reports, his law firm has questioned the motive behind the arrest and warns that the action is damaging to the foundation of the respect of law and justice in Cape Verde.

“His arrest is unprecedented, and we are compelled to ask what purpose it could possibly serve. Such actions are damaging to the image of Cape Verde as a democratic society built upon a foundation of the respect of law and justice for all,” the firm said in a statement.

They have called on Cape Verde authorities to “reconsider their position and stop interference with the defense team of Ambassador Saab in its right to exercise its professional duties”

“We urge the international community to also denounce the undemocratic behaviour of the Cape Verdean authorities and issue a warning to prevent such incidents from taking place in a model democracy,” part of the statement adds.

According to the lawyers, local authorities, on Monday, denied entry to members of Ambassador Saab’s international legal team for the fourth time.

They have also claimed that in December last year; Cape Verde authorities prevented a renowned Oncologist from visiting and examining Ambassador Saab.
It is believed that the Cape Verdean authorities are acting on the instructions of the US government.

It is also believed that the arrest of Alex Saab, who has been established as a close ally to Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro and his regime, follows severe sanctions from the US against the Southern American country.

Cape Verde has agreed to extradite the Diplomat to the US on criminal charges; a situation the African Bar Association says is “neither in compliance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights nor with customary international law.”

The African country has put the action on hold after Ambassador Alex Saab’s lawyers took the matter to the ECOWAS court, arguing that the action was illegal since Alex Saab was on a diplomatic mission.

There are growing fears that Alex Saab’s possible extradition will open way for big countries to violate the diplomatic status of diplomats for political convenience.

The ECOWAS court has set March 15, 2021 as date for it to give final judgment on the matter.

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